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There’s often a lot of focus on Customer Experience (CX) in industries like retail, banking and hospitality. This means lots of talk about the experience in store or similar, and in dealing with potentially millions of pieces of feedback from different individuals. However, CX in a business-to-business (B2B) environment often presents greater challenges, despite there being small data sets to deal with.
B2B Customer Experience professionals often spend most of their time and effort perfecting the experience their key corporate customers have with the company, and all too often forget about the end customer or even other members of the supply chain that have an impact on the overall customer experience.
So where to begin with this more complex ecosystem?
To fully understand the impact each company in the wider network has on the experience, you need to identify the different touchpoints your customers have with your product along the entire buying journey. Including those you don’t directly own. For example, a pharmaceutical company should consider the following; sales reps selling the drugs; the physician; the payers; and then finally the end customer themselves. Each of these interactions with your company can have an impact - positive or negative - on your Customer Experience and, ultimately, on the bottom line.
In addition to managing each member of your supply chain, you also need to assess the value a direct connection to the end consumer will have on your business. This is a key element in the insurance industry, for example. The insurance company is often selling to the consumer through an agent or producer. Imagine what positive word of mouth, or a lower policy abandonment rate would do to your bottom line. B2B companies need to think of the Customer Experience in terms of B2BC and help manage the experience and perception of the company by interacting directly with the end company.
Consider the pharma industry again, this is the exact approach that has been taken with the drug advertisements that are now commonplace during regular TV programs in the US. The pharma companies are hoping to reach consumers directly, in hopes that they will influence the physician that is prescribing the medication. If the consumer has a positive experience interacting with the brand, they will be more likely to actively ask for the drug by name.
Are you in an industry that is measuring only B2B interactions and not evaluating the experience the end consumer is having? This shift requires the ability to prove you can have an impact by taking action on the consumer experience. Try setting up a small feedback loop to gather information directly from the consumer to measure one or more touchpoints in the journey. You will likely uncover issues you never knew existed or perceptions about your brand you weren’t aware of. These early findings should help support a more robust program that includes more touchpoints and an action management process to help the company remedy complaints or issues that arise.
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